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Special-teams goals, penalty-killing power Rangers past Devils

Adam Fox #23 of the Rangers celebrates his

Adam Fox #23 of the Rangers celebrates his goal in the first period against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on November 30, 2019 in Newark. Credit: Getty Images/Elsa

NEWARK, N.J. — Well, that was different.

The Rangers won a hockey game Saturday in which they found themselves shorthanded eight times against their rivals from across the Hudson. They killed all eight penalties and scored two shorthanded goals in a 4-0 thrashing of the Devils at Prudential Center to wrap up a back-to-back set in which they took three out of four points.

Mika Zibanejad had a goal and an assist and Alexandar Georgiev made 33 saves to earn his third career shutout. It was his first start since the Rangers’ 6-5 win over Montreal a week ago.

“Certainly not the way you draw up winning a hockey game . . . taking that many penalties and having that many penalty minutes to kill,’’ coach David Quinn said. “But we found a way to win, really gutted it out and stood tall on the penalty kill.’’

The eight power plays included a major in which Chris Kreider was given a five-minute boarding penalty and a game misconduct in the third period.

The victory extended the Rangers’ point streak to five games (4-0-1), and they are 5-1-1 in their last seven. Their record is 13-9-3 — the first time they have had four more wins than regulation losses since Thanksgiving Day last year.

“Yeah, I think we’re growing,’’ rookie defenseman Adam Fox said when asked if he thinks the Rangers are starting to figure things out. “We’re finding consistency. Obviously, we wanted two points Friday in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Bruins], but you’ll take points in this league — against the best team in the league, especially. I think we’re starting to kind of hit a stride here.’’

Fox has had something to do with that. The Jericho native has formed a rock-solid defense pair with Ryan Lindgren, his pal and former U.S. National Team Development Program teammate, and Fox has produced, too.

On Saturday, he got the Rangers on the board first, dunking home a feed from Kaapo Kakko on the power play at 12:45 of the first period. It was Fox’s fifth goal and his first on the power play in his NHL career.

The Rangers began their parade to the penalty box when Ryan Strome was called for high- sticking Kyle Palmieri at 19:28 of the first period. A little more than 30 seconds after they killed that penalty, Artemi Panarin was sent off for tripping. Brady Skjei took a hooking penalty, the Rangers got called for another too-many-men on the ice penalty and, at 19:27 of the period, Libor Hajek was given a double minor for high-sticking.

While killing that penalty, the Rangers doubled their lead. Zibanejad stole the puck from Sami Vatanen in the neutral zone to start a two-on-one. He passed to Brendan Lemieux, who passed it back, and Zibanejad finished for his sixth goal (in 12 games) at 2:35.

Jesper Fast made it 3-0 when he scored off a pass from Zibanejad while the Rangers were killing Kreider’s major penalty, which came at 5:21 of the third period after he checked Matt Tennyson into the end boards and the defenseman was bloodied above his eyebrow.

Skjei sealed it by scoring into an empty net at 17:18 after goalie Mackenzie Blackwood was pulled while the teams were skating four-on-four.

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